A major survey by US tourist magazine Conde Nast Traveller has placed Kilkenny, Cork, and Dublin in its top 20 most welcoming city destinations on the planet.
The survey, which can be read at irishexaminer.com, was based on the views of more than 46,000 of the magazine’s readers. And while its focus on the views of mainly North Americans may have tipped the scale in Ireland’s favour, the healthy showing for three of our biggest tourist hubs will act as another boost to a vital part of this country’s economy.
According to the survey, Cork — which just made it into the top 20 — is a “warm city, like a beautiful gem”.
Surrounded by “grand scenery” and inhabited by “friendly and helpful” locals, it said visitors will find “there is always something to see and participate in”.
At number 12 on the list, Dublin is said to be a “big bustling city with great museums” that “should be on everyone’s bucket list” of places to visit before they die.
Kilkenny, which made it into the top nine friendliest places in the world, received equally warm plaudits, with one visitor describing it as having “the most welcoming and helpful folk I’ve met” who “always want you to sample their best”.
The friendliest cities list was topped by the “island of magic” Florianopolis in southern Brazil and included destinations such as Hobart in Tasmania (2nd), Thimpu in Bhutan (3rd), Mandalay in Burma (7th), Ubad in Bali (joint 9th), and Savannah in Georgia (16th).
However, given that just one other European city — Edinburgh in Scotland (18th) — made the top 20 list, the North American tourist-centred compilation should be seen as some much needed good news for the country.
“Again and again, our research shows us that the friendliness of our people is one of our unique selling points,” said Niall Gibbons, the Tourism Ireland chief executive.
“It is the warm welcome and the ‘craic’ here that resonates with our overseas visitors and makes Ireland a great choice for a short break or holiday.”
As with any survey, of course, the detailed list also has a downside — with participants asked to name and shame some of the world’s least friendly tourist destinations.
They included war-torn locations (Bethlehem, 20th), oil-rich dry cities (Riyadh in Saudi Arabia, 15th), crowded industrial hubs (Shenzhen in China, 14th), and other far-away sites (Islamabad in Pakistan, 2nd).
However, unexpectedly, they were topped by Newark in New Jersey, which according to the survey can now lay claim to being the rudest city in the world.
* 1: Florianopolis, Brazil
* 2: Hobart, Tasmania
* 3: Thimpu, Bhutan
* 4: Queenstown, New Zealand
* 5: Charlestown, South Carolina
* 6: Paro, Bhutan/Margaret River, Australia
* 8: Mandalay, Burma
* 9: Kilkenny, Ireland/Ubud, Bali
* 11: Chiang Mai, Thailand(Dublin: 12; Cork: 20)
* 1: Newark, New Jersey, US
* 2: Islamabad, Pakistan
* 3: Oakland, California, US
* 4: Luanda, Angola
* 5: Kuwait City, Kuwait
* 6: Lome, Togo
* 7: New Haven, Connecticut, US
* 8: Detroit, Michigan, US
* 9: Atlantic City, New Jersey, US
* 10: Tangier, Morocco